Myself and others have been "Sounding the Shofar" so to speak - warning about this mess since the NAACP issued their 1991 declaration against all things Confederate. Fact is, the writing was on the wall even before I was born. What we are witnessing today wasn't a matter of "if" but "when."
Below is what I submitted to the Salisbury, NC City Council back in 2015 when they were strongly pressed to remove and replace its Confederate Monument. Stonewall Jackson's widow attended the unveiling of that statue back in 1910. -- JW
The following information is in response to various groups calling for the removal of the Confederate monument on Innes St. When one considers the mountain of issues plaguing Salisbury, sanitizing history that hurts future generations should never be a priority.
One remark I read in the Salisbury Post claimed this is about "reconciliation." I submit that not only has reconciliation occurred, laws were passed as the result of nearly a century of reconciliation. I ask that you consider a partial listing of the reconciliation events which led to Congressional and Presidential recognition, as well as the State Legislature currently considering a Monument Protection Bill. I ask that you not succumb to the "flash mob" frenzy sweeping the South. I ask that you not join the likes of Stalin, Hitler, and ISIS in eradicating history. I ask that probity and reason prevail over misguided passion to insure the sacrifice made by so many to achieve collective reconciliation is preserved.
GySgt / USMC (ret.)
Reconciliation events followed by resulting laws and Presidential Proclamation:
1. Following the Spanish-American War, which saw former Confederates serving under US colors again, the world began to look at us as a "super power."
2. Recognizing the need to bind old wounds to achieve this status, the government and the north started giving back flags and other captured equipment.
3. President Wilson appointed former disenfranchised Confederates to official posts such as Post Master General.
4. Confederate Veterans were enlisted to teach our "doughboys" the Rebel Yell battle cry, though unfortunately, these young troops could not duplicate the three-tone yell.
5. After WWI, many military bases were named after Confederate Generals, like Fort Lee, Fort Jackson, and Fort Hood, just to name a few. Again, this was part of the spirit of reconciliation by courting Southern sentiment thus drawing more Southern men as US troops.
6. President Roosevelt sent the President's Own Marine Band to play at the only "out of South" United Confederate Veterans Reunion in Colorado. He also gave remarks at the unveiling of the Robert E. Lee memorial statue in Dallas, TX. - recognizing Lee as one of America's greatest Christians and one of America's greatest gentlemen.
7. Southern men distinguished themselves in every war following the American Civil War, with more men serving from the South than any other sector of the country.
8. US Code 38, passed by the 85th Congress in 1958 and signed into law in 1959 by President Eisenhower, effectively gave all Confederate Veterans the same rights and privileges as US Veterans.
9. In 1960, President Eisenhower affixed his seal to a proclamation recognizing 1961-1965 as the Centennial of the American Civil War. Part of the proclamation recognized the "men who became soldiers as good as any who ever fought under any flag."
10. Tactics and strategies by Confederate Generals are still studied at Military colleges such as West Point and Virginia Military Institute.
11. Possibly the final note regarding reconciliation occurred at Arlington House, Arlington, VA. on Aug. 5th, 1975 when President Ford signed Senate Joint Resolution 23, restoring the citizenship of General Robert Edward Lee. Among the many acknowledgements, President Ford said the following regarding Lee:
As a soldier, General Lee left his mark on military strategy. As a man, he stood as the symbol of valor and of duty. As an educator, he appealed to reason and learning to achieve understanding and to build a stronger nation. The course he chose after the war became a symbol to all those who had marched with him in the bitter years towards Appomattox. General Lee's character has been an example to succeeding generations, making the restoration of his citizenship an event in which every American can take pride.
This reconciliation period led up to the Congressional Act of 9 March 1906, U.S. Public Law 810 Approved by 17th Congress 26 February 1929, and the final crown of reconciliation with U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410 Approved 23 May 1958.
Congressional Act of 9 March 1906
We Honor Our Fallen Ancestors
(P.L. 38, 59th Congress, Chap. 631-34 Stat. 56)
Authorized the furnishing of headstones for the graves of Confederates who died, primarily in Union prison camps and were buried in Federal cemeteries.
Remarks: This act formally reaffirmed Confederate soldiers as military combatants with legal standing. It granted recognition to deceased Confederate soldiers commensurate with the status of deceased Union soldiers.
U.S. Public Law 810, Approved by 17th Congress 26 February 1929
(45 Stat 1307 – Currently on the books as 38 U.S. Code, Sec. 2306)
This law, passed by the U.S. Congress, authorized the “Secretary of War to erect headstones over the graves of soldiers who served in the Confederate Army and to direct him to preserve in the records of the War Department the names and places of burial of all soldiers for whom such headstones shall have been erected.”
Remarks: This act broadened the scope of recognition further for all Confederate soldiers to receive burial benefits equivalent to Union soldiers. It authorized the use of U.S. government (public) funds to mark Confederate graves and record their locations.
U.S. Public Law 85-425: Sec. 410 Approved 23 May 1958
Confederate Iron Cross
(US Statutes at Large Volume 72, Part 1, Page 133-134)
The Administrator shall pay to each person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War a monthly pension in the same amounts and subject to the same conditions as would have been applicable to such person under the laws in effect on December 31, 1957, if his service in such forces had been service in the military or naval forces of the United States.
Remarks: While this was only a gesture since the last Confederate veteran died in 1958, it is meaningful in that only fifty-seven years ago, the Congress of the United States saw fit to consider Confederate soldiers as equivalent to U.S. soldiers for service benefits. This final act of reconciliation was made almost one hundred years after the beginning of the war and was meant as symbolism more than substantive reward.
Additional Note by the Critical History: Under current U.S. Federal Code, Confederate Veterans are equivalent to Union Veterans.
By the President of the United States of America
The years 1961 to 1965 will mark the one-hundredth anniversary of the American Civil War.
That war was America's most tragic experience. But like most truly great tragedies, it carries with it an enduring lesson and a profound inspiration. It was a demonstration of heroism and sacrifice by men and women of both sides who valued principle above life itself and whose devotion to duty is a part of our Nation's noblest tradition.
Both sections of our now magnificently reunited country sent into their armies men who became soldiers as good as any who ever fought under any flag. Military history records nothing finer than the courage and spirit displayed at such battles as Chickamauga, Antietam, Kennesaw Mountain, and Gettysburg. That America could produce men so valiant and so enduring is a matter for deep and abiding pride.
The same spirit on the part of the people at home supported and strengthened those soldiers through four years of great trial. That a Nation which contained hardly more than thirty million people, North and South together, could sustain six hundred thousand deaths without faltering is a lasting testimonial to something unconquerable in the American spirit. And that a transcending sense of unity and larger common purpose could, in the end, cause the men and women who had suffered so greatly to close ranks once the contest ended and to go on together to build a greater, freer, and happier America must be a source of inspiration as long as our country may last.
By a joint resolution approved on September 7, 1957 (71 Stat. 626), the Congress established the Civil War Centennial Commission to prepare plans and programs for the nationwide observances of the one-hundredth anniversary of the Civil War, and requested the President to issue proclamations inviting the people of the United States to participate in those observances.
Now, Therefore, I, Dwight D. Eisenhower, President of the United States of America, do hereby invite all of the people of our country to take a direct and active part in the Centennial of the Civil War.
I request all units and agencies of government--Federal, State, and local--and their officials to encourage, foster, and participate in Centennial observances. And I especially urge our Nation's schools and colleges, its libraries and museums, its churches and religious bodies, its civic, service, and patriotic organizations, its learned and professional societies, its arts, sciences, and industries, and its informational media, to plan and carry out their own appropriate Centennial observances during the years 1961 to 1965; all to the end of enriching our knowledge and appreciation of this momentous chapter in our Nation's history and of making this memorable period truly a Centennial for all Americans.
In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States of America to be affixed.
DONE at the City of Washington this sixth day of December in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and sixty, and of the Independence of the United States of America the one hundred and eighty-fifth.
DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER
By the President:
CHRISTIAN A. HERTER
Secretary of State